Black Techies Coming Up And Taking Over
Black-owned techies are the talk of the town right now with recent funding news
Figgers Communications is the only Black-owned telecommunications company in America that produces its own device
Issa Rae’s recent investment in Streamlytics, a Black-led tech company, pushed an important conversation about Blacks in tech, or the general lack thereof. The proportion of Blacks employed in the tech industry has grown over the last decade, but there are still significant disparities in terms of employment, fundraising, founding, and general access for Blacks in tech.
Why This Matters: Over $100 billion dollars in venture funding was spent in 2018 alone, with a lion-share going to tech companies. Just the mobile app industry generated over $71 billion dollars in 2018, which demonstrates that Blacks cannot afford to be left out as the tech industry progresses.
Yet, at some of the largest tech companies like Uber (UBER -3.59%), Twitter (TWTR -2.70%), Google (GOOG -1.54%), and Facebook (FB 1.07%), less than 3% of tech workers are Black. Despite the huge amount of venture funding pouring into tech companies in the last decade $424.7 billion, Black women led companies have only secured .0006% of that money.
So, when it was announced that Issa Rae had acquired a stake in Streamlytics, the media paid attention. Streamlytics, which was created in 2018 and is led by a Black-woman, utilizes media consumption data to allow consumers to own their data. But it’s just one of the Black-led tech companies changing the game right now.
Figgers Communications is the only Black-owned telecommunications company in America that produces its own device, the latest being the 128 GB, 5G capable F3 phone. Black-led Katika is a platform that connects users to black-owned products and services anywhere in the world, while Liberate is the only app that focuses on healing the Black community through meditation. Drop, led by HBCU-grad Russell Ladson, is an immersive internet searching and virtual reality platform backed by tech giants such as HTC. These companies demonstrate the breadth of innovation Black-led tech in bringing to hardware, software, and app markets.
Situational Awareness: Our lives are now driven by technology, as evidenced by the dollars invested in tech companies and the advent of new technologies. Inclusive tech, and tech led by Black-founders, will ensure that inequities that persist in our society do not become deeply embroiled into our technology as well.
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